South Wales disabled children’s charity unable to increase services

A CHARITY which helps disabled children and their families is struggling to recruit staff, which is preventing it from increasing vital services and supporting those in need.

Sparkle, whose motto is ‘helping special children shine’, has faced difficulties recruiting and attracting people since it reopened after Covid-19 lockdowns.

Recently, the charity received some extra funding, but is currently unable to use it due to its recruitment struggles.

South Wales Argus: Sparkle's moto is helping special children shineSparkle’s moto is helping special children shine (Image: Sparkle)

Sparkle provides leisure activities for children and young people aged 0-18 years, with disabilities, from Newport, south Torfaen, and south Monmouthshire.

Sara Filer, Sparkle’s leisure team leader, said: “Normally as a charity you don’t have additional funds, so we have this little pot of additional funding and we’re not able to use it, which is so frustrating.

“It is stopping us from increasing our services and affecting young people who are on the waiting list.

South Wales Argus: Demand for Sparkle's services has increased Demand for Sparkle’s services has increased (Image: Sparkle)

“There has been an increase in the amount of people needing the services – our referrals have gone up massively after Covid.

“We have the interest and demand, but we are struggling to get the staff to meet the demand.

“It’s a real struggle to continue to run the existing services and staff to support the children.

South Wales Argus: Sparkle offer a range of services Sparkle offer a range of services (Image: Sparkle)

“Often our children do have additional needs, so they need significant support, which can be one-to-one or sometimes even two-to-one.

“It is disappointing, disheartening and frustrating that we have the children and the facilities, but we can’t fill some roles.”

Sparkle, which offers after-school clubs, youth clubs, swimming lessons, skills groups and independent living skills.

South Wales Argus: Playworkers at SparklePlayworkers at Sparkle (Image: Sparkle)

The Serennu Centre in High Cross, Newport, has a hydrotherapy pool, climbing wall, sensory room, and specific equipment to meet the children’s needs.

Ian Edwards, Sparkle’s fundraising manager, said: “We are focused on providing the best outcomes and facilities as possible for the young people. This is a great opportunity for students to get work experience in the evening.

“It’s not late work, it’s early evening work, and it has the flexibility that you don’t have to be here every night after work.”

Sparkle’s full list of vacancies can be found here.

South Wales Argus | Business